Beyond the rate

Adopt digital tools to help grow your business

“Digital” has become something of a catch-all for anything that isn’t on paper. But how, specifically, do digital tools help financial professionals? And perhaps more importantly, how can you decide which ones are best to help grow your business? While we don’t have all the insights, we do have some suggestions to boost your business in the digital age.

Digital tools for financial professionals

Business websites, email marketing systems and social media platforms all have benefits and drawbacks. However, when it comes to engaging and attracting clients, the value of digital tools is hard to ignore. It’s no longer a matter of deciding whether you need to go digital to stay relevant; rather, it’s about narrowing it down to where your time is best spent when growing an online presence.

Building a business website

If you don’t have a website for your business, you simply cannot put it off any longer. According to a Google article on the search patterns of people seeking investment advice in the U.S., “86% of potential investors are spending more than an hour researching online.” Though not analyzed separately, results among would-be investors in Canada are likely to be similar. If you don’t have an online presence to help would-be clients find you, you are missing out on an invaluable source of new business. You are also missing out on the opportunity to provide an ongoing source of information and insight for your existing clients. PC Magazine has complied a helpful article, “How to Create a Website,” that you can use as a guide.

86% of potential investors conduct research online first

If the thought of building a complex website is too daunting, consider starting with the basics and growing it over time. If your website is well designed and includes clear and complete contact information along with a brief description of your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) and the products you are licensed to sell, you will be well on your way to establishing your home on the web.

Over time, you can expand it to include valuable product information for your clients, like relevant news articles, and conversation starters for your next in-person discussion with your clients. News articles can also help form the basis of your social media presence, the value of which we will discuss in more depth shortly.

Using email marketing tools

Email marketing can help you stay top of mind with your existing clients, especially when you use the opportunity to provide them with timely information about financial market conditions and general portfolio information. One advantage of using an email marketing tool rather than a distribution list from your regular email account is the ability to measure the performance of the message, e.g., number of clients who opened the email, clicked on the information etc. These data points can help you focus your efforts and help to shape future communications.

A word of caution: before you start using an email marketing tool, be sure to review the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). This will help to ensure you have the right permissions to use your client email distribution list as planned.

Understanding social media basics

Once dismissed as a platform for personal updates and funny cat videos, social media has established a firm presence in the marketing toolbox of financial professionals. According to a recent Putnam survey cited by Forbes, 80% of advisors using social tools to attract and retain new clients saw a significant increase in average asset gain. In the same article, a shorter selling cycle was reported as another benefit of using social media for sales, presumably because it allowed investors to get to “know” their advisor prior to making an investment decision.

80% of advisors engaged in social selling saw increased AUM

The right social media platform will depend on several factors, not the least of which is your personal style and the demographic profile of your audience. Twitter, with its short messaging structure (280 characters), provides quick hits of information and relatively few barriers to entry. Facebook offers a robust, intuitive structure for targeted messaging and privacy settings you can customize to allow the content you share to be seen by everyone, or just those customers you choose to have access to it. For professional networking and peer advice sharing, you can find a wealth of information on LinkedIn.

Embracing digital tools can allow you to stay connected with your existing clients, help you reach out to new clients, and enable you to benefit from the collective expertise of peers from all over Canada and the world. There is no time like the present to identify and implement the right digital tools for your business. We look forward to seeing you online!

 

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